The prospect of the UK leaving the European Union has triggered a swell of uncertainty on world markets.
And today may be just the beginning of it.
The Pound plummeted against the canadian dollar today.
But the vote also caused the loonie to fall sharply against the US dollar.
So what overall impact will the Brexit vote have on us here on Vancouver Island?
At the University of Victoria’s Business School today, there was plenty of shock, but so signs of panic.
Local experts say the Brexit effect shouldn’t have a huge impact in British Columbia, at least not right away.
“The immediate impact is going to be marginal,” says Saul Klein, Dean at The Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria, “I don’t think its time to panic. There will be significant changes down the road, but we’ve got a lot of time to adjust.”
But the UK’s vote to leave the European Union did have an immediate impact on the markets, which fell 3 to 4 percent in North America, and even further in Europe.
Martha O’Brien specializes in European Union law at UVic, and says she would also be surprised if B.C. suffered any serious short term pain when it comes to international trade.
“Things wont change right away, and I doubt that the British would suddenly raise tariffs in Canadian imports,” said O’Brien.
In the meantime, the plunging British Pound could have an effect on all sorts of British imports, including Brits themselves.
“As the U.K. economy takes a bit of a hit, investment goes down, spending power is going to go down as well,” said Klein, “And that will result in some kind of reduced investment in tourism.
The U.K. is the third largest source of international tourists in B.C., behind only China and the u.s. and British tourists we talked to say the weakened pound could well mean fewer trips to B.C. in the future.
“Maybe not,” said one British tourist in Victoria about the possibility of returning here, “At the moment we don’t quite know what this is going to cost us because stuff that we’ve paid on credit is going to cost us more than when we started out, so we’ll see.”
And that’s the attitude of many in the B.C.’s business sector today as well, as they say we’ll just have to wait and see what the long term trade effects are in the years ahead.